Marathons are beautiful things. There’s the time it takes to be able to run them, the people encouraging you on that journey. There’s the race itself: the glorious 26.2 mile stretch of more than just singular achievement, but also the support of the community where that race happens, the chorus of cheers from strangers and friends alike who celebrate you and with you.
I don’t think today’s events make us forget the beauty and achievement of the marathon. I think today’s events magnify it and, in its reflection, we see how much more glaringly ugly and awful is today’s terrible tragedy and evil. I don’t use the word “evil” lightly. I don’t like using that word. It resonates a certain level of sinister simplicity, but it’s the only word I have in my vocabulary that comes anywhere close to describing what I think happened today. There are just moments in the world where you don’t need the details and faces and motives to know that something terribly unjust has been done to humanity.
Today my heart hurts. My stomach aches. Today every agonizing muscle that I forced through a marathon I ran many years ago has come alive again in some kind of sensory experience I can’t explain. But I don’t think I’m alone in saying that there’s something about today’s tragedy that kicks us all in the stomach, makes us winded without air.
It happened near a finish line and the poet in me has these lines running through my head, has me holding fast and tightly to the hope inspired by the community and the beauty of finish lines in my runner’s memory:
the end of the line
is never the end of the line
someone will always be there
to bring you home